Categories
Articles Original

On CSS counters plus a CSS3 Reversi UI

CSS Counters have a lot more potential than most web developers seem to think. The common use case consists of something like:

somecontainer { counter-reset: foocount; }
Ε { counter-increment: foocount; }
Ε::before { content: counter(foocount) ". "; }

commonly used to add numbering to section headings or re-create an <ol>’s counters in order to style them (since browser support for ::marker is ridiculous).

Have you ever thought of applying the counter to different elements than the ones being counted? This way we’re able to count elements and display their total count somewhere with CSS alone! (and with the variety of selectors in CSS3, I see great potential here…). I’m referring to something like:

ul { counter-reset:foo; }
li { counter-increment:foo; }
p::after { content:counter(foo); }

From my tests, this works flawlessly in Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome (I’ve only checked the latest stable though), as long as the element that displays the count comes after the elements being counted (in the markup).

Another underutilized aspect of CSS counters (well, far less underused than the above, but still) is how we can combine multiple in the same pseudoelement. For instance, to count rows and cells of a table and display the count inside each cell:

table {
	counter-reset:row;
}

tr {
	counter-increment:row;
	counter-reset:cell;
}

td {
	counter-increment:cell;
}

td::after {
	content:counter(row, upper-alpha) counter(cell);
}

Which displays counters like A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, etc in the cells. When the content property is more properly implemented, you wouldn’t even need the last rule.

Last but not least, a CSS3 Reversi UI (no images used!) I created a while ago that demonstrates the above (and various other things, like –finally– a use case for :empty 😛 ). Looks fine only in Firefox and Opera 10.5, due to lack of support for inset box shadows in Safari and buggy support in Chrome. Works fine in all 4 of them (IE is out of the question anyway).

Screenshot of the UI

The displayed counts of each player’s pieces (top right corner) are just CSS counters. Same goes for every cell’s name. This is mostly a proof of concept, since it’s impossible to determine if someone won by CSS alone, so we would have to count the pieces in JS too.

As a game it’s not finalized, you are basically only able to play against yourself and it doesn’t know when somebody won, so it’s not very useful or enjoyable. If someone wants to take it up and develop it further be my guest.

Note to avoid confusion: CSS Counters are not CSS 3. They are perfectly valid CSS 2.1. The “CSS3” in the title (“CSS3 Reversi”) is due to other techniques used in it’s UI.

Categories
Apps & scripts Original

CSS3 structural pseudo-class selector tester

I was doing some research today about how people explain the CSS3 structural* pseudo classes and I stumbled upon this demo by CSS tricks: http://css-tricks.com/examples/nth-child-tester/

I thought the idea is awesome, but lacks a few features:

  • It doesn’t use the native browser algorithm for selecting the elements. Granted, it’s not that tough to code your own properly, but I trust a browser implementation more (IE doesn’t support these altogether, so it’s out of the question anyway).
  • Doesn’t allow you to test for nth-last-child, nth-of-type, nth-last-of-type (and especially the last two are a lot harder to understand for most people)
  • Doesn’t allow you to add/remove list items to see the effects of the selector with different numbers of elements (especially needed if nth-last-child, nth-of-type, nth-last-of-type were involved)

So, I decided to code my own. It allows you to test for all 4 nth-something selectors, supports adding/removing elements (the selected elements update instantly) and uses the native browser implementation to select them (so it won’t work on IE and old browsers).

Enjoy: CSS3 structural pseudo-class selector tester 🙂

*Yes, :root and :empty also belong to those, but are rarely used. All other structural pseudoclasses are actually shortcuts to some particular case of the aforementioned 4 🙂

Categories
Original

iPhone keyboard with CSS3 — no images

Yeap, this is yet another of those things that make no practical sense but are fun to make just to see whether it can actually be done. It’s also a proof of the fact that when I have too many things to do, I tend to procrastinate more. 😛

Here it is (resize the window to get the narrow version ;)):

http://lea.verou.me/demos/iphone-keyboard/

It should look correct in Firefox 3.6, Chrome 4 and Safari 4. It looks best on Firefox 3.6 due to it’s ability to render subpixel distances, whereas other browsers just round everything to the closest pixel. It also looks best in computers with Helvetica installed (it’s installed by default on macs btw) but it should look sufficiently OK with Arial too, since it’s a rip-off of Helvetica 😉 (the only problem with Arial is that the line-height of the buttons with the symbols will be slightly different since the custom font’s measurements are based on Helvetica Bold) Also, ironically, it doesn’t look ok in the iPhone!

For those of you that don’t use one of the aforementioned browsers as your primary and are way too bored to switch (or don’t even have them installed (!)), here are two screenshots from Firefox 3.6 (nicely cropped to only contain the keyboard):

Screenshot of the wide version
Screenshot of the narrow version
Categories
Original

Quickly find the Gravatar that cor­res­ponds to a given email

Today I needed to quickly find the Gravatars that corresponded to a bunch of email addresses for some reason (don’t ask). After a bit of googling and wandering around in Gravatar’s official site and others, I firgured out it’s probably much quicker to write a short PHP script for that myself, than keep looking.

Here it is, in case someone ever needs to do something similar: (click on the screenshot)

Quickly find the Gravatar that cor­res­ponds to a given email

(has anyone noticed my latest love affair with Helvetica/Arial? 😛 )

Categories
Original Tips

Yet another email hiding technique?

While exploring browser-supported Unicode characters, I noticed that apart from the usual @ and . (dot), there was another character that resembled an @ sign (0xFF20 or @) and various characters that resembled a period (I think 0x2024 or ․ is closer, but feel free to argue).

I’m wondering, if one could use this as another way of email hiding. It’s almost as easy as the foo [at] bar [dot] com technique, with the advantage of being far less common (I’ve never seen it before, so there’s a high chance that spambot developers haven’t either) and I think that the end result is more easily understood by newbies. To encode foo@bar.com this way, we’d use (in an html page):

foo&#xFF20;bar&#x2024;com

and the result is: foo@bar․com

I used that technique on the ligatweet page. Of course, if many people start using it, I guess spambot developers will notice, so it won’t be a good idea any more. However, for some reason I don’t think it will ever become that mainstream 😛

By the way, if you’re interested in other ways of email hiding, here’s an extensive article on the subject that I came across after a quick googlesearch (to see if somebody else came up with this first — I didn’t find anything).

Categories
Articles Original

Exploring browser-supported Unicode characters and a tweet shortening experiment

I recently wanted to post something on twitter that was just slightly over the 140 chars limit and I didn’t want to shorten it by cutting off characters (some lyrics from Pink Floyd’s “Hey You” that expressed a particular thought I had at the moment — it would be barbaric to alter Roger Waters’ lyrics in any way, wouldn’t it? ;-)). I always knew there were some ligatures and digraphs in the Unicode table, so I thought that these might be used to shorten tweets, not only that particular one of course, but any tweet. So I wrote a small script (warning: very rough around the edges) to explore the Unicode characters that browsers supported, find the replacement pairs and build the tweet shortening script (I even thought of a name for it: ligatweet, LOL I was never good at naming).

Categories
Original

A different approach to elastic textareas

I loved elastic textareas since the very first moment I used one (at facebook obviously). They let you save screen real estate while at the same time they are more comfortable for the end user. It’s one of the rare occasions when you can have your UI cake and eat it too!

However, I never liked the implementation of the feature. In case you never wondered how it’s done, let me explain it in a nutshell: All elastic textarea scripts (or at least all that I know of) create a hidden (actually, absolutely positioned and placed out of the browser window) div, copy some CSS properties from the textarea to it (usually padding, font-size, line-height, font-family, width and font-weight) and whenever the contents of the textarea change they copy them to the hidden div and measure it’s dimensions. It might be good enough for facebook, where the styling of those textareas is fairly simple and consistent throughout the site, or any other particular site, but as a generic solution? I never liked the idea.

Categories
Original

New version of rgba.php is out!

It’s been a while since I posted my little server-side solution for cross-browser RGBA colors (in a nutshell: native rgba for the cool browsers that support it, a PHP-generated image for those that don’t). For features, advantages, disadvantages etc, go see the original post. In this one I’ll only discuss the new version.

So, since it’s release I’ve received suggestions from many people regarding this script. Some other ideas were gathered during troubleshooting issues that some others faced while trying to use it. I hope I didn’t forget anything/anyone 🙂

Categories
Apps & scripts Replies

A CSS3 learning(?) tool

In case anyone is interested, this is my take on the “challenge” that Brad Neuberg posted today on Ajaxian. It needs more properties, but it’s very easy to extend. I guess I should also add CSS3 values (RGBA/HSL(A) colors, CSS gradients etc) but oh well, I’m currently in a hurry. I will, if anyone actually finds it useful (?).

It didn’t prove much of a challenge actually and I honestly doubt it’s educational value (actually it’s value in general), but it was an interesting thing to do while drinking my first coffee in the morning — I really enjoyed writing it 🙂

Categories
Original Tips

Bevels in CSS3

Yeah, yeah I know, bevels are soooo 1996. And I agree. However, it’s always good to know the capabilities of your tools. Talented designers will know when it’s suitable to use a certain effect and incapable ones will abuse whatever is given to them, so after a lot of thought, I decided to blog about my discovery.